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Recent Tasting Notes
This is the other Darjeeling I have been drinking recently. Even though I have been familiar with Adagio’s products for a long time, I have to admit that until I cracked this one open, this tea was new to me. At first, I did not like it at all, but now that I have tried it multiple times, it has grown on me quite a bit.
I prepared this tea using my familiar one step Western infusion. I experimented with steep times quite a bit. It took awhile, but I think I have finally found what works best for me with this tea. According to Adagio, one should steep 1 heaping teaspoon of this tea in 8 ounces of 212 F water for anywhere from 3-5 minutes. I found that a 3 minute steep using the amount described oddly lacked character, so I adjusted the amount used and the steep time. I actually used slightly less leaf and found the result to be a more balanced, nuanced brew. I still used slightly more than a traditional teaspoon of loose tea leaves, but not quite as much as what many may consider to be a heaped teaspoon if that makes sense. I also found that a steep time ranging from 4-5 minutes using the amount of tea I settled on produced a nice cuppa. For the purposes of this review, I will be specifically referencing the 5 minute infusion.
Prior to infusion, a glance at the dry leaves revealed that this is a higher quality tea compared to the Summer Puttabong offered by Adagio. I did not notice nearly as many fannings, primarily spotting larger broken leaves and some smaller full leaves. To be clear, I still highly doubt that this would qualify as a truly high end Darjeeling, but relative to the other summer Darjeeling offered by this vendor, this one at least appears to be a little nicer. After infusion, the liquor shows a dark golden amber in the glass. On the nose, I found that mellow aromas of honey, Muscat grape, toast, almonds, cream, and malt were easily detectable. In the mouth, I picked up on mellow notes of clover honey, cream, toast, malt, almonds, herbs, straw, nutmeg, and Muscat grape. The finish was longer and mellower than the Puttabong offering, with delicate notes of Muscat grape, almond, toast, cream, nutmeg, and honey lingering.
This does not come across as the most refined Darjeeling in the world, but I found that I really enjoyed the honey, nut, and spice notes offered by this tea. The Muscat grape presence is nice and pronounced too. Compared to Adagio’s other summer Darjeeling, I definitely prefer this one. I could see this being a consistent, solid introduction to the summer flushes.
Flavors: Almond, Cream, Herbs, Honey, Malt, Muscatel, Nutmeg, Straw, Toast
In cleaning out my hoard of black teas, I have been specifically focusing on reducing the number of Darjeelings I have on hand. Unfortunately, I fear that I may be starting to burn myself out on them. Either that or I have just run into a couple of Darjeelings that really have not done it for me. I have one more that I am hoping to polish off before the end of the week, so we’ll see which is the case. This one, at least, was pretty good.
I prepared this tea using the one step Western infusion I normally use for non-Chinese black teas. I suppose that I could have attempted another infusion with this tea, but to be honest, I did not feel the need. For the purposes of this review, I steeped 1 heaping teaspoon of loose tea leaves in 8 ounces of 212 F water for 5 minutes. Adagio recommends a steep time ranging from 3-5 minutes for this tea. I tried several different times in that range, but found that I preferred the 5 minute infusion time. The others yielded a tea that was a little underpowered for my tastes.
The first thing I noticed about this tea was that it was not specifically comprised of full leaves. I noted a number of broken leaves, as well as what appeared to be fannings. Obviously, this is not 100 percent high grade tea. I also noted a dusty smell with a hint of grape. After infusion, the liquor showed a delicate golden amber in the cup. Mild aromas of cream, toasted almonds, malt, honey, apricot, golden raisins, and Muscat grape were present on the nose. In the mouth, I noted a relatively smooth, soothing mixture of straw, golden raisin, apricot, honey, malt, cream, toast, toasted almond, and Muscat grape flavors. The finish was very clipped and mild, offering lingering impressions of toast, malt, honey, toasted almond, golden raisin, and Muscat grape.
To be fair, this was a lot more complex than I was expecting it to be. I really dug the aroma and flavor of golden raisin demonstrated by this Darjeeling. It was entirely unexpected, giving this tea a very unique presence that separated it from the other Darjeelings I have been drinking lately. This was also a very pleasant tea that was easy to drink. I would have preferred to see more depth and a longer, more powerful finish, but this would have required a greater proportion of higher grade leaves that would have driven the price point up. I tend to be really picky about summer Darjeelings, and to be honest, I do not normally like them nearly as much as spring and autumn flushes, but this one isn’t bad. Its fine layering of aromas and flavors is extremely commendable given the mixed quality of the leaves and the lower price point. I doubt I would purchase this tea again anytime soon, but if I were looking for a decent, respectable summer Darjeeling at an affordable price, I could see myself revisiting this one.
Flavors: Almond, Apricot, Cream, Honey, Malt, Muscatel, Raisins, Straw, Toast
Bleh. Another Adagio tea bites the dust. At this point I’m something like 0/24 with Adagio flavored teas and should know better, but they are 5 mins from my house and generous with samples so I keep trying them.
This one smelled promising. The dry leaf had a warm aroma of vanilla bean and wood and it brews into a beautiful deep red color. But the taste of the brewed tea is another story. The vanilla flavor really knocks you over the head, overpowering the rooibos. After a few sips, I felt as if I were drinking a bottle of vanilla extract. There is a little spice in there too but none of the other flavor notes are decernible because the vanilla dominates. Perhaps a splash of almond milk might make this is a little more palatable.
Flavors: Vanilla, Wood
Not proud to admit it, but I’ve been scared of rooibos. First of all, is it “ROY-bose” or “ROY-bus”? “RUE-ee-bose” or “RUE-ee-bus”? Reading that’s it’s also called “red bush tea” and that it comes from South Africa, while interesting, doesn’t help. I’ve had it (and made it) in blends of herbal tea, but as it was always mixed in with other tastes, I never knew exactly what it contributed aside from its lack of caffeine. Even the old Tazo African Red Bush teabags (which, alas, they no longer make or sell) combined hibiscus, lemon verbena, orange peel, rosemary, lemon balm, citric acid and natural flavors. I used to like those teabags. I’m sorry they’re no longer available.
But rooibos by itself I had never had. So I bought this small 4 oz tin (with a nice see-through hinged lid) in order to really try it. Aside from throwing in a spoonful when blending myself a pot of something without caffeine at night, I’d never used it. So here goes.
First of all, be prepared to use some kind of filter paper, otherwise the tiny little seedlike bits can escape even tiny-meshed tea strainers. No, I didn’t do research to find out what part of the red bush this tea comes from. Doesn’t look like leaves, maybe it’s seeds—it’s certainly tiny enough to be little seeds. Yeah, the bulk of them will be caught by the mesh—but there’s enough residue of dozens of tiny specks, you’ll want to use a coffee filter over a mesh if you want to keep them ALL out of your tea.
The tea has a pleasant-enough flavor. It’s not bitter, kind of nutty, kind of raisin-y tasting. I feel like I should be eating a slice of nut bread or raisin toast while drinking this, as it would certainly go well. Don’t know what the health benefits of rooibos are supposed to be (yes, I’ll be looking that up, too), but while not the usual tea flavor of camellia sinensis, it’s a cozy-tasting hot beverage. I’m having this unsweetened, so to taste it by itself. It tastes “healthy”—like it should go along with organic toast or oatmeal, or other good-for-you foodstuffs. Unless you’ve grown up with it, it is not the usual breakfast beverage. This will be a plus for some people, a minus for others who’d rather have regular tea or coffee.
The upshot? It’s not bad. I will have to give it a number of more tries for my tastebuds to get over the “different” factor. But I think it could be just the thing for a cool fall morning, especially with some nice baked goods.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Brown Toast, Grain, Nutty, Oats, Raisins
Let me start by saying that I’ve really been missing out by not buying a bag of these for myself sooner. These cookies are really tasty and in full disclosure I should tell you they’re a bit addictive (I may have sat here and eaten most of the bag in one sitting, whoops!) You have three different options for flavors: honey rooibos, white berry, and vanilla chai. When I send these to my friends I usually buy the vanilla chai because you really can’t go wrong with spiced cookies and it’s a flavor that will appeal to tea lovers and haters alike. The cookies are gently spiced with chai and the texture reminds me of buttery shortbread. Occasionally you’ll run across a piece of dried pineapple, which is slightly gummy and doesn’t really add to the flavor. I could do without the pineapple in the cookies, it seems like an odd combination to me, but the inclusion doesn’t affect my enjoyment enough where I wouldn’t order these again (and again and again, did I mention they’re addictive?)
You can read the full review on my blog:
This is probably not something I’d have bought for myself but I was given a box of “Orchard Oolong” samplers from Adagio for my birthday.
Upon opening the foil pack the smell of grapefruit is quite intense. So much so that I was worried about the final result being too fruity. However, I needn’t have worried. The resulting infusion did taste of grapefruit but only mildly so. The resulting beverage was inoffensive but it also wasn’t spectacular. However, t was something I could easily drink.
Overall, I enjoyed it more than expected.
Flavors: Grapefruit, Tea
The last of my Adagio teas, and today’s work cold brew. I used 4 bags in 2 litres of water, as per my usual method. To taste, it’s not particularly pumpkiny. I get little flashes of squash here and there, but nothing that really makes me think “pumpkin!” The spicing is more of a feature – this blend is very heavy on the cinnamon, with maybe a touch of ginger adding a little warmth. The honeybush base is fairly prominent, and although it’s sweet and unobjectionable, I was really hoping for more pumpkin to balance out the base/spice combination which is basically the whole flavour. It’s not my favourite of the Adagio Fairy Tale blends, but it’s by no means bad. Just a little…lacklustre.
Well, I think I have my fill of No Man’s Sky let’s plays, after many days of watching them. I will probably feel different if I ever get to play it, but from what I can tell it seems like a bit of a let down. I was under the impression it was going to be focused mainly on exploration, that grinding for resources was secondary and that there was not going to be a plot…well, either I was wrong or the advertisement was misleading. Having seen a player reach the conclusion of the ‘plot’ well, I am glad I was never invested in the story because wow, it is anticlimactic!! In a way I am glad I do not have the right system to play it.
Today I am looking at another tea from Adagio Teas, their Formosa Bai Hao. You may know this tea by its other more famous name, Oriental Beauty, though there is a bit of a movement to change that name to one of many other names, since OB is deemed by many to be culturally insensitive. I will probably always call it OB, not a shortening, but like Bob without the ‘b’ mainly because it makes me think of Magic character Ob Nixillis, because that name is hilarious. This tea, other than a very slight name similarity has nothing in common with Ob Nixillis, because he is a jerk and this is a tea, teas can’t be jerks. Well, that got rambling quick, let is go straight into the aroma before I get side-tracked again! The aroma of the leaves is very light, I really had to shove my nose in them to get much, though the notes that were present were quite pleasant. Autumn leaves blend with distant grapes and light honey. It smells autumnal and mildly sweet.
Only one thing to do since sniffing isn’t giving me much, time to brew it up! Once steeped the leaves liven up a bit, notes of apples and grapes blend with squash and autumn leaves, I swear OB is always autumnal to me, like the best parts of autumn distilled into tea. The aroma of the liquid is a fruity blend of crisp apples, juicy pears, a bit of honey, and a touch of grapes. It is very sweet and nectar like.
The first steep is really quite light, in both taste and texture, it is almost airy in its lightness. It blends notes of light and slightly crisp apples with sweet pears and very gentle grapes at the start. Around the middle the fruit takes on a baked quality being reminiscent of fruit pie with a slight crust quality. The aftertaste is sweet like warmed wildflower honey, though it does not linger over long.
For the second steep the aroma is a fruity blend of apples, pears, and a touch of distant citrus, it is light and sweet, again reminding me of fruit nectar. The taste is much like the first steep, but with a bit more oomph. Notes of apples and pears dance with grapes and gentle wildflower honey and autumn leaves. It has a slightly citrus note that pops up towards the finish and lingers for a short while in the aftertaste. Sadly there really wasn’t much to steep three, it was greatly faded by that point. This tea did not really wow me, there was nothing wrong with it, just nothing jumped out and grabbed me as being spectacular.
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I did several steeps of this. They first was 5 seconds and the others were 7-10 seconds. The first was a little light, the second was just a touch astringent but the third was wonderful.
The was very light and refreshing. I enjoyed it so much I took some of the leaves and put them in a glass in the fridge with water to cold steep. I suspect the iced tea tomorrow should be great!
Flavors: Astringent, Floral, Spinach
This smelled great, sweet smelling, almost like honey, but the taste was very bitter, tannic and astringent. I think I used too much leaf, not realizing how oxidized this tea was. I’d probably cut it down to ⅓ of what I used the next time.
Eventually I pulled out half of what was in the gaiwan but by that point the damage to my palate had been done so this ended up being a fairly disappointing evening of tea. But, I don’t think I can blame the tea in this case but rather the woman between the chair and the gaiwan.
Flavors: Astringent, Bitter, Honey, Tannic
Today’s cold brew. Of all the Adagio blends I’ve tried recently, this is the one where the honeybush is most prominent. It’s a little bit woodsy, and it gives me a scratchy throat. Having said that, there’s also a really excellent (albeit artificial) peaches and cream flavour. There’s also some chamomile, but if anything that actually helps to amp up the “sweet” and “thick” aspects of the “cream” flavour, while adding a honey-like edge all its own. The aftertaste has a whole lot of rose, which I’m not massively sold on. It’s a touch perfumey for my tastes, but it does work with the peach flavour a lot better than I expected it to. On balance, not a bad cup. It’ll never be my favourite, but I like it more than I expected to.
The amount of cute in my lap right now is unreal. Espeon jumped in as soon as I sat in my chair and immediately rolled over onto her back, she then proceeded to bat at my hair with her paws. I am trying to type around her doing this which is exciting, though with the increase in purring level I think she is about to just drift off to kitty lala land. Ben’s new work schedule seems to have shaken her a bit, so she has been extra clingy, I am pretty sure she adjusts to change worse than I do and I was unaware that was possible. Tao on the other hand, she could care less, as always.
Today I am taking a look at Adagio Teas’ Golden Spring, their name for their Bailin Gongfu, a delicate Fujian Hong Cha that has long been a favorite of mine, though this is my first time tasting Adagio’s. The leaves on the website are super fuzzy and golden, and my sample, while not quite as fuzzy and golden, is still quite pretty with an even speckling of golden trichomes and delicate leaves. The aroma is sweet and rich, notes of malt and molasses with yams, brown sugar, roasted peanuts, and a finish of ripe currants and a touch of apple butter. I want to keep my nose in these leaves for a while, but I learned many years ago, tiny Fujian curls will easily fly up one’s nose and that is not fun.
Into my beloved little Petr Novak pot the leaves go for their steeping, the aroma of the steeped leaves is a bit brisk with a slightly woody cocoa note, alongside that are notes of sweet cherries and juicy ripe currants with a starchy yam finish. The liquid is sweet and malty, with notes of cherry, cocoa, apple butter, and a bit of starchy yams. It is not too strong, but it is quite distinct, though I am sad the currant notes did not carry over in the aroma of the first steep.
The first steep is pleasantly light, specifically in the mouthfeel which seems almost fluffy and airy in its texture. It starts with a blend of cherries and currant at the beginning (yay, currants!) and moves pretty quickly to apple butter and starchy yams. The finish is a gentle cocoa and slight woody briskness, with a cocoa note that lingers into the aftertaste.
For this steep the aroma is sweet and surprisingly fruity, notes of apple butter and cherry, currants and yams, and a gentle finish of brown sugar dance up to my nose through the steam. Where the first steep was light and airy, this one is smooth and a bit thick in the mouth. Wow, this steep is sweet! Strong notes of brown sugar, apple butter, currants, and cherries blend with a delicate and starchy yam quality at the finish. It manages to have heavy and sweet notes while not being too intense, a quality I find very enjoyable in this style of tea.
This steep has a sweet and almost tart aroma of cherries, cranberries, and currants with a touch of woody cocoa and peanuts, no yam this steep! It starts sweet and light and pretty much stays that way for the rest of the session, which is only one more steep. While tasty, it does not have a ton of longevity, which makes me a little sad, a tea as tasty as this should stick around longer. It does have the distinct pleasure of being one of the fruitiest Bailin Gongfu teas I have had, so congrats there!
I was really excited to try this tea. Many people said how great of an earl grey it was. I have nothing against flavored teas as a general rule. At first it smelled kind of nice when I opened the bag. Creamy vanilla with a hint of citrus, okay.
But then I brewed it and tasted it, oh Lord. It was sickly, the “cream” tasted like some kind of sickly sweet chemical. I opened up my bag of Cream black tea to smell it and had the same experience. It made me nauseous. Sweetening it didn’t help to mask anything, nor did adding milk.
It has a very smokey, campfire taste. Maybe a bit too strong for me. No bitterness There was a strange metallic taste to it as well. I’ll try to mix it 50/50 with an Assam, maybe that will mask the metallic and mellow out the smoke. I don’t think it was due to the water because none of the other teas taste metallic to me.
Flavors: Campfire, Metallic, Smoke
Opening the bag, it has a very toasty, popcorny scent. Once I brewed it (2.5 grams, since the gram amount below rounds down to 2) , it had a slightly fishy and toasty aroma. The taste was similar, but milder, and more floral in the aftertaste. I’m thinking about increasing the amount for the next time. I also tried resteeping at near boiling water, for five minutes, and got the same taste and aroma.
Flavors: Fish Broth, Floral, Nutty, Rice, Toasted
You know what is kinda fun? Playing around with the wedding registry! I have not made it public yet since we don’t have a date set and that seems disingenuous, so I am occupying myself by perfecting it. By perfecting it I mean adding ridiculous captions to all the things on it, and of course removing the completely random nonsense I add at three in the morning when I am bored. The majority of things on it are things that are useful but we have just not acquired, like silicon baking mats and a deep fryer, but there are also silly things like a skull shaped trinket bowl, replacement nerf darts, and of course the much desired skull shaped ice trays. There is a real skull theme going on.
Recently I was given the opportunity to look at an old favorite tea company, Adagio! Over the several years I have been tea rambling they have shown up many times, they were the first online tea company I tried after diving into the vast ocean of online tea shopping, so I have a real nostalgic fondness for them. I am looking at Casablanca Twist, their take on Moroccan Mint, something I have been craving lately but have had no luck getting my hands on any that has been enjoyable. Granted I am not a huge fan of gunpowder, so seeing their blend used Sungma Summer Darjeeling and Peppermint I was very intrigued. I think I got really unlucky with my sample pouch though, I am pretty sure it is 90% mint. You can see a few spindly leaves mixed around with the mint, but mostly it is bright green minty fun. When sniffing this tea, all I smell is mint, fresh and cool and super strong. My nose is now clear and my lungs are happy, mint is good for the sinuses!
I decided to cold steep the tea, it just seemed right…maybe because I am Southern and chilled mint and black tea is kinda a big thing. The aroma after I crack open the cold steeper is a minty blast in the face, it is like walking into a snowy crisp landscape, and considering it is summer this is not too bad a thing. I get absolutely no notes of the Darjeeling, the mint has totally overpowered it. The aroma of the liquid sans leaves is pretty much the same, there is a tiny hint of brisk sweetness but mostly it is all mint all the time.
Well, tasting this tea is tasting mint. There is a slight bitterness to it, not the bitterness of tannins but the bitterness of vegetation, for me mint always comes off a tiny bit bitter, it is one of the main reasons I like mint blends and not just straight up mint. I also like my mint blends a bit more balanced, it is such a potent herb that it will almost always overpower what it is blended with if it is used in abundance. The photo on the website made it seem like it was a more even split, so I think I just got unlucky and since mint is fluffy I got the mint…somewhere out there maybe someone got a sample that is mostly Darjeeling. I really like the idea of a mint Darjeeling blend, but sadly I just got to really explore the mint side, so I do not have a real opinion on this tea. The quest for a Moroccan Mint continues!
Hard to review this, as this is the first matcha I have ever had. On it’s own, and not comparing it to anything else:
It’s a little seaweedy, green tea tasting, umami, and surprisingly creamy, considering I am drinking ground up leaves.
It’s definitely something I will finish.
Flavors: Creamy, Seaweed, Umami
Today’s work cold brew. I nearly made this one up on Saturday, but then I realised how much chamomile is in it and changed my mind. As it turns out, chamomile isn’t really the main flavour when this one’s cold (it really is when it’s hot, though.) I was hoping that would be the case, but I was prepared for the worst.
To taste, there’s a hay-like sweetness, but it’s very much in the background, and it actually provides a pleasant counterpoint to the slightly tart, slightly sour blueberry flavour that’s the main draw here. It also seems appropriately on-theme with the Three Little Pigs, so I guess Adagio get points for that. I like blueberry a lot, so this one was almost bound to be a winner with me. It’s not too sweet, in the end, and the fruitiness is at the forefront and fairly natural-tasting. Another decent blend.